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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 3:51 pm 
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I've bin around for 43 years now, and followed pro-cycling for as long as I can remember.
And I myself have been a competition man for six years.

Untill the early eighties all timetrials ('prologs') pro-cyclists rode on their normal roadbike, like they used in all courses.

The idea behind a timetrial in essense is to compare cyclists riding a certain distance under the same conditions. No more and no less.
The outcome will be the fastest endurance-man will win.

In the early eighties the first bikes with aerodynamic wheels, en lower handlebars were introduces in some teams. These new bikes proved to have an aerodynamic advance compared with the normal competition bikes, en we could no longer speak about 'same conditions' during timetrials since not alle teams had these bikes yet.

It came to a very unsporting end-battle between Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond during last day of the Tour de France of 1989 in Paris.
The new triathlon 'spahetti' handlebars that were used for the first time, made LeMond ending up as the overall winner, with only 8 seconds difference overall.
I am not pro-Fignon, but he should have won that day.
Later earodynamic test's showed what a huge advantage LeMond's 'Spaghetti' handlebars gave him in this epic final:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyvwtOQYQ-E

This was the beginning of an insane development in pro-cycling.
Most pro's in those days could not get used to the instabel character af these new generation bikes. They really hated them, and kept using their normal roadbike up to two years during timetrials.
Very soon however, most of them had to go riding them, because of the proved earodynamic advance, and loosing on that one could simply not be afforded anymore.



But why the hell should cyclist use a TT-bike in a time trial? :idea:

-TT-bikes are a lot more instabel in corners, and under rainy conditions.
-TT-bikes are fár from ideal with crosswinds.
-TT-bikes are hard to get used to, cause of the deeper bodyposition.
-TT-bikes cost a lot for young beginning competition cyclists with parents that do not earn the same amount of money.
-TT-bikes have NOTHING to do with competition between riders in a timetrial.

Well, some will say, you can reach higher speeds on an TT-bike :D

Yeah right, but what does that add to the man-to-man competition in a timetrial, anyone? :roll:

As I've said:
The idea behind a timetrial in essense is to compare cyclists riding a certain distance under the same conditions. Nó more and nó less.
The outcome will be the fastest endurance-man will win. :roll:

So why bother and put competition-cyclists on these instabel, costly bikes, instead of letting them do a timetrial on there day to day and far more stabel roadbikes?

I'm sure Fabian Cancelara will still finish first, don't you think so? :idea:
(Last 40km's in Belgium i loved looking at the 'timetrial' he performed outrunning Tom Boonen, am sure it would have been the same spectacle in a real timetrial on his normal road bike)

Same thing with those drophead helmets and shoecover shit.

Sport is man to man (Or women to women) under the same conditions.

And the winner will be the winner, isn't that all that counts?


Allright, I also like the futuristic looking TT-bikes, but no one can convince me they add anything to cycling-competition, other than costly, unstable, en harder to ride bikes.

Honoustly, who can tell me what do they really ad to the sport?

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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 4:41 pm 
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Its funny because in large part I agree with your premise. Time trials are meant to be about the rider. To me, I think that the fact that the UCI does such a terrible job of applying it's current rules also plays in to at least some reason I think that things aren't always equal. However, I greatly disagree with most of your logic. I think a lot of it is based on preconceived notions and perpetuated myths. I have a Felt B2 that rides like the bees knees, corners and all.

You said:
-TT-bikes are a lot more instabel in corners, and under rainy conditions.

No. I disagree. I think riders who are in a time trial, whether they are on their road or tt bikes, are more unstable around corners and in rainy conditions(they are going all out after all). Time trial bikes, by and large, are very fine tuned in their geometry now a days. They are anything but unstable.

you said:
-TT-bikes are fár from ideal with crosswinds.

I again, strongly disagree. An aero frame has very little to do with handling. Furthermore, the aerodynamic advantage sky rockets on an aero bike versus a normal tubed road bike. Besides does handling need to be perfect if you are out on the road alone?

you said:
-TT-bikes have NOTHING to do with competition between riders in a timetrial.

I think it has something to do with competition. I think that it isn't always a fair way of setting up the race. However, competition is all about gaining an edge on your competition. Cycling isn't any different than a lot of other sports in that fans buy products that athletes win with; so companies have every incentive to make sure their product is the fastest and it's under the fastest athlete so they can sell more. Speedo in swimming, Nike in running, etc.

Like I said above, I tend to agree with you that things aren't always "fair" and that riders do win and lose because of their equipment choice. I also think that the UCI has stated that they are trying to make the sport cheaper by enforcing these rules, when in reality we've seen companies redeveloping and retooling products to fit within ever changing definitions which ultimately results in increased prices for consumers.

I have some questions for you though.
If riders can't use TT bikes can they use aero road bikes like the Felt AR, Cervelo S series or Ridley Noah?
If riders can't use TT bikes can they use aero wheels?
If pro riders can't use TT bikes on the pro level should Amateurs in nat'l championships be able to?
Do you think things should play out like Kerein track in Japan?
You say TT bikes make a difference. Data we've seen on rolling resistance shows that Tufos and Continental tubulars are fairly slow, should no pro team be able to ride Tufos or Continental tubulars because the rider is disadvantaged?

I think that there is a big problem with saying, "no TT bikes". It's as vague of a definition as is currently in place. The second they say "no TT bikes", everyone will be on an aero road bike with aero handlebars. Then the UCI will have to ban stuff like that. Eventually companies will be searching to make bikes aerodynamic without looking aerodynamic. Bike companies will be sent on another goose chase, the same as they've been on since the 3:1 went in to place. I believe it's not in bike racing's interest to take actions that would effectively hurt/damage the bike companies who sponsor and support teams. In the end, no matter what the rules, equipment is going to matter. Changing the rules now is probably going to hurt the sport.


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Posted: Wed May 05, 2010 4:41 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 4:43 pm 
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Oh also, you say that time trials are about same riders in same conditions. Ever looked at a wind plot of the same time trial race from first rider to last? I bet the same amount of races are won and lost on changing wind conditions as on differences in equipment.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 4:50 pm 
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You could require riders to race the TTs on the same or identical bikes they raced certain other (presumably mountain) stages on ... meaning standard drop handlebars and no bar extensions. Similarly, disc wheels could be banned if you went for a maximum rim depth or enforced an approved list of wheels on all stages.

Helmets you could specify a maximum length, and even a minimum vent area.

Defining a skinsuit is tricky.

That would still leave frames, but the frame gives a relatively small aero advantage. If you required the same frame for different stages then my guess is they'd be road geometry with funky seatposts (which you could ban!) to get a forward position.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 6:52 pm 
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I feel like if you forced riders to ride the same bike in all stages there would still be an aero/technology discrepancy. In fact it may grow in some instances, especially at first.

Although, your logic is good in that if riders want to use certain equipment for an advantage, they also have to use it when there is no advantage, and maybe even a disadvantage.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:48 pm 
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TT bikes and the TT craze reminds me of the F1. I like the aero frames and the technology behind it. Although I agree that if everyone in the TT would ride the same bike, it would be a level playing field. However, this might not promote the effervescence in cycling technology.

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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:51 pm 
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It's interesting that results in most club TT's never state if the rider was on a road bike or not. Just to give you an example, I can ride my local 10 mile TT course about 3 minutes faster on my TT bike than my road bike. Ironically though, the TT bike is just an old TCR Aero cobbled together with bits and bobs and cost about £500 to build, yet my road bike costs £5000! I use the wheels from my road bike on my TT bike, so that 3 minutes is pretty much all down to Tri Bars and a slightly more aero frame. I would say if you used a modern TT frame and bars with deep section front and disc it can be as much as 5 minutes advantage per 10 miles.

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 3:50 am 
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I disagree.

Unless, as one poster mentioned we go to the current NJS or the TDF circa 1920's and mandate that all teams use exactly the same equipment there will continue to be minor advantages from differing aero equipment.

Whilst there are differences between equipment by and large all the pro teams are using very similar equipment (TT frame, disc, aero helmet etc). Despite the claims by manufacturors the aerodynamic advantage from one frame to the next is minor. Thus everyone is competing on pretty even footing.

Also as mentioned where does the line get drawn? More and more knowledge of aerdynamics is being put into "normal" road frames. Ban them? What about bikes designed more for climbing, should they be allowed on mountain stages?

The modern TT format has been around for over 20 years, I see no need to turn the clock back. As long as the UCI can keep their current set of rules clear as mud.

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 9:49 am 
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Remember that the higher average TT speeds actually mean less time difference between riders of different abilities.
Go to road bikes and take TT lengths back up to the 80Km+ used before, and the effects on stage race GCs would be pretty big.....

Planet X in the UK runs an old-school series of timetrials - an aditional class at normal events. Interest has been fairly low, like 5% of riders maybe.
I think in general riders kind of like bike tech. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 12:01 pm 
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If I'm right, in the end all you want is competition that isn't material dependent, so ideally everybody rides the same bike. This also has huge drawbacks because the bikes might fit rider a better than rider b. It's never going to be a 100% rider comparison, the materials always have influence.

For me, I actually enjoy all the different stuff bike manufactures come up with. This way it's more of a team effort: riders ride as good as they can, the team makes sure the rider has the best bike possible within their capabilities. Make me think of the time Ridley Dean first came out, or the first time I saw the Cervelo aero road bikes, Specialized Shiv etc., DI2 etc. I just think it's all awesome. I want road pro's to be my heroes by doing the most insane things on a bike, I want people to fly up the mountains in the grand tours, I want Fabian to ride the tarmac out of the streets like a comet.

Reminds me, it's basically the same as Formula 1 vs. A1GP. A1 might be more fair, but I just like all the sick Formula 1 stuff better :)


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 1:55 pm 
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I would like to see, just once a year a real man-on-man competition. All on same bike, same gears and equipment and let them loose on a time trail. Would be interesting to see who is the champ when nothing but the rider is the difference!

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:06 pm 
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I already know the winner if they all rode Mavic Service bikes in a TT - Cancellara.

At the top level of the sport, they are all on pretty equal TT bikes because all the big gains like TT bars, skin suits, sperm helmets, disc wheels aero frames are common to all teams. I mean Cancellara wins using Cervelo and now he wins using Specialized. Next year he might win on Colnago or Trek - who knows?

I would say the differences in equipment are so small it is purely the rider who decides the winner.

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:11 pm 
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so... why not make cyclists race on 100$ wallmart bikes?

TT is just a type of stage. you get climbing stages, flat with likeable peloton finish stages, rolling stages, crappy roads stages etc. if UCI was to ban or limit the innovation process in TT bikes, they should go ahead and e.g. permit only one bike per rider per race

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Final stage in last years Giro, prime example of the weather effecting the final outcome more than the bikes or equipment.

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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:46 pm 
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eigner wrote:
I would like to see, just once a year a real man-on-man competition. All on same bike, same gears and equipment and let them loose on a time trail. Would be interesting to see who is the champ when nothing but the rider is the difference!


World Hour Record.

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Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 2:46 pm 


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